MP’s concern over ‘gaps’ in government financial support packages during coronavirus pandemic
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01 Apr 2020
Greenwood MP has raised concerns over ‘gaps’ in measures that the
government has announced to support people financially through the
a letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse
Coffey, Ms Greenwood welcomed the steps that the government has taken to
try to prevent redundancies through the new
Job Retention Scheme and the support that has been made available for
self-employed people via the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
the Wirral West MP, who is the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and
Pensions, has highlighted a number of concerns including the fact that
those eligible for the Self-employment
Income Support Scheme won’t be able to receive payments until June,
leaving them with a gap in cash flow of two months
the government has not extended eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay
(SSP) to workers earning below the threshold to qualify of £118 a week,
nor has the government raised the
level of SSP and the support that has been made available so far does
not cover certain groups, such as people who remain employed but whose
hours are cut.
only alternative for people who are not covered by SSP, the Job
Retention Scheme or the Self-employment Income Support Scheme is to
claim Universal Credit or new-style Employment
and Support Allowance.
recent days Margaret Greenwood has drawn attention to the fact that
there are unprecedented numbers of people needing to access support.
That is causing pressure on the system leaving
people facing long waits to register a claim online and then to have
their identity verified, thus potentially holding up payments.
Margaret Greenwood MP said:
are unprecedented numbers of people needing to access support at this
time and the government must get help to people quickly.
once a Universal Credit claim has been processed, people still face a
five-week wait for their first payment. Labour has been calling for this
waiting period to be abolished and
for the loan that people can get to help them through this period to be
made into a non-repayable grant.
people who are eligible for help via the Self-employment Income Support
Scheme won’t be able to receive support from the scheme until June.
gap in cash flow of two months can be a significant problem for a small
business and it is likely that more self-employed people may now make a
claim for Universal Credit, adding to
the demands on the Department for Work and Pensions at a time when
people already face long waits to register a claim online and then to
have their identity verified.
is why I have written to the Secretary of State to raise concerns
around gaps that still exist in the support the government has
announced. I am also seeking clarification on how
the social security system is coping with the increase in demand for
support and how it will adapt to provide that support.
is important that, as the Opposition, we are constructive in our
approach to the current crisis while still fulfilling our duty of
holding the government to account.”